Africa: Mugabe's Foreign Hospital Treatment - Time for Africa to Stop Funding 'Medical Tourism'

opinion

Robert Mugabe died on 6 September 2019 in a foreign hospital - linking his fate with those of millions of Zimbabweans who fled their homeland due to his four decades-long poor leadership, epitomised by the appalling state of healthcare in the country.

Unlike his countrymen who have fled into situations of grim discomfort, Robert Mugabe this year alone spent more than 150 days in Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore - paid for by Zimbabwe's taxpayers. The minimum daily cost for his care was an estimated US$200. The average daily tariff at a Zimbabwean hospital is a small fraction of that.

The current vice president, Constantino Chiwenga, an army general under Mugabe and a leader of the anti-Mugabe coup, has also been on a three-country "tour" for his ongoing healthcare needs since April 2019. Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe's former vice-president and now president, was famously airlifted to South Africa in 2017 following an incident of ice-cream poisoning.

The choice by Mugabe and his successors to seek medical care abroad goes against core promises they made at independence and in every election since then. Mugabe's neglect of the healthcare system in Zimbabwe is a significant blemish on his legacy that should not be overlooked...

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